I was working in the back room of the Molly Mutt Thrift, sorting clothes, when my fellow volunteer and dear friend Pamela came rushing in, looking agitated. Apparently, a customer had gone up front to the register to buy a dress, and said to Pam, “That old lady in the back, the one with the facelift, told me this was $2.”
Well first of all, I told her the dress was $4, but that’s hardly the point, eh? Pamela told me she’d responded, “That’s my friend you’re talking about, you bitch!” And no dress changed hands after that. I love Pamela for sticking up for me, but the comment still hurt. Why? This was just a rude person with underdeveloped social skills, and perhaps an attention-seeker. And aren’t I proud to be an old lady who’s still got it going on?
I had to analyze: What was worse . . . being that “old woman” or looking like I’d had a facelift? Would it have been better or worse if she’d said, “that older lady”? And how much kinder it would have been to say, “that woman with the fuzzy hair” or “the nice woman in the back, wearing sneakers.” I don’t mind a truthful description, and maybe “old lady” is a truthful description, but a pointed and unkind one in our culture.
And as far as the facelift: would she have said, “the woman with the bald spot” or “the woman with the crossed eyes,” or any other physical descriptor that’s not socially suitable? I fumed and vented for a while, and found myself staring in the mirror, stretching my face to imitate an actual facelift. It seems I still need to work on my internal locus of control, and not let the slings and arrows hurt me.
A woman, any woman or man, is entitled to privacy about our medical conditions and cosmetic interventions, if any. Of course, if you want to share, please do, and come sit next to me. : >
If there are lessons to be learned from this unpleasant episode they would be: 1) there are some crass people in the world, and we mustn’t let them steal our joy; and 2) being an “old lady” is an accomplishment – but only my best friends are allowed to call me one. xo
Stay fabulous, and stay you,
Here’s some fab summer pieces that this “old lady” likes:
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Header art from this site.